The Adult Industry Copyright Organization (AICO) has taken another step toward victory in its case against a notorious Australian video pirate with new court orders issued this week.
In March 2007, an Australian federal magistrate found that Digital Sinema Australia Pty Ltd and Digital Sinema Pty Ltd had infringed the copyright of Vivid and several other AICO members’ films and that they had breached the confidentiality of a customer mailing list owned by Calvista Australia Pty Ltd. The judge called for further hearings and evidence to allow him to determine the involvement and liability of Jim Karakikes and to make decisions on damages.
The new court orders mean that the submission of evidence for the trial will be concluded, allowing the Magistrate to consider and make his decision on Karakikes' liability and the amount of damages and costs to be awarded against Karakikes and his companies.
AICO members have claimed damages of $2.25 million.
Assets of Karakikes and Digital Sinema valued at $2.25 million, including two Sydney properties Karakikes owns, were frozen by court orders on August 6. The judge ordered these assets frozen due to evidence supporting allegations that Karakikes was disposing of assets after having sworn in court not to do so in May 2007.
At trial earlier this year, Karakikes admitted involvement with SD Digital, an adult DVD mail order catalog. AICO and its members have since discovered that Karkikes is now involved with another DVD mail order catalog called ADI Adult DVD Importers.
AICO Executive Officer Graeme Dunne believes Karakikes' involvement with these mail order companies amounts to a shell game.
"This is what we allege is 'the pea and thimble trick' where the Digital Sinema DVD business, and its assets, trades under SD Digital and now under ADI Adult DVD Importers," Dunne told AVN. "The trick is to pick which thimble (or business) the pea (the asset) is under."
Karakikes put Digital Sinema Pty Ltd into bankruptcy on July 25, 2007 and put himself into personal bankruptcy in early August 2007.
Lawyers for Karakikes believed that the bankruptcies would result in a stay of the piracy proceedings. These latest court orders have proved this to be incorrect and Karakikes is required to provide sworn affidavits, by close of business today, August 14, 2007, outlining all of his assets and details of his involvement with Digital Sinema's latest incarnation as ADI Adult DVD Importers.
"Bankruptcy in Australia is effectively a sentence of up to eight years living by no more than very humble means," Dunne explained.
Under the freezing orders, Karakikes was granted a personal living allowance of $200 per day.
When seeking these orders on August 10, 2007, lawyers for AICO's members said that certain evidence provided to the Court by Karakikes "lacked candor" and thus foreshadowed possible contempt of court charges against Karakikes.
"AICO and its members are reserving their position with respect to contempt of court charges. Contempt is a criminal charge," Dunne said. "However, if we believe evidence filed to a court warrants further action we will use all legal means available, including seeking criminal convictions against alleged copyright infringers."